2 Co-Workers Arrested For Embezzlement

Police beat

Two former employees of Lynn’s Landscaping have been charged with embezzlement and conspiracy to commit embezzlement after police believe they worked together to take equipment from their boss to use on side jobs, as well as charged items to his company account at a local hardware store for their own benefit.
In November, Lynn Cramerer reported to the Sierra County Sheriff’s Department that he was missing numerous tools and equipment from his shop. A week later a woman called Cramerer saying that she had hired two of his employees, Cheyenne Grijalva and William Fry, to do some work at her residence and they hadn’t completed the job. Furthermore, the woman reported she was missing items from her home.
Through the course of the month-long investigation, SCSD Lt. Baker questioned Grijalva and Fry individually, who eventually admitted to taking items from their boss to do side work on the weekend with the intentions of returning the equipment.

Agencies Struggling To Find Permanent, Safe Homes


Christmas came a little early this year for William and Landon Johnson, as their grandparents legally adopted them both recently.
Having a permanent, loving home, however, is something many children will only dream about, but never get to experience.
Ten-year-old William and seven-year-old Landon had spent time off and on with the grandparents (now their parents). The New Mexico Children, Families, and Youth Department (CFYD) contacted the grandparents, asking if they would consider becoming the boys’ fulltime parents.
“We had been married one month when the CYFD contacted us,” said Don Johnson. Don, 61, is the father of a grown daughter, and his wife, Jody, 58, the mother of two grown sons.
And while Landon and William like gifts such as play station and Batman brands, they both said their best Christmas present is having a stable and loving home with Grandma and Pawpaw

City PUAB Votes Against YESCO

City of Truth or Consequences

With a 2-to-1 vote November 20, members of Truth or Consequences’ (T-or-C) Public Utility Advisory Board (PUAB) rendered a majority decision against a proposed water/electric meter replacement program being forwarded by officials with Yearout Energy Services Company (YESCO).
This decision will present city commissioners with a recommendation to forego further consideration of the meter replacement plan.
Prior to the vote, YESCO senior sales representative Scott Griffith and project manager Alex Montano reviewed the firm’s proposal and specifically outlined recent adjustments made in response to previous concerns expressed by city commissioners. This revised information included a price-per-meter estimate, as well as a reaffirmation that meter accuracy would be guaranteed throughout the proposed 20-year repayment plan.

SVH Approves QHR Contract


During a special meeting November 21, Sierra Vista Hospital (SVH) governing board members approved the proposed extension of its current management contract with Quorum Health Resources (QHR).
This measure will ensure the present management team will remain in place for a renewed contract term of two years.
The board’s decision to retain QHR indicates their search for a more permanent management team will likely be moved off the front burner, but it also assures consistent administrative oversight will be in place through the new hospital construction project.
With a unanimous vote, governing board members approved a contract with IASIS Healthcare for the design, procurement and installation of a new IT system, necessary to bring about proper integration of the new hospital’s operations.

Schools Show Improvement

kids holding books

The New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) released their 2017 report cards for 89 public school districts and 71 charter schools, academies and other specialized institutes. The T-or-C Municipal District earned a B in the state’s A through F grading system. After five years of hovering at the mid-point of C-grade, the district is on the road to improvement.
While none of our schools across the district were rated in the top five percent statewide, none were listed as in Focus, Priority or Strategic status. These are the lowest performing schools, statuses reserved for the lowest 10 percent of those in the report.
In some of the specific key areas T-or-C Schools are performing above the state averages. Our graduation rate for the most recently documented year, 2016 is 82 per cent. While the educators, administrators and other staff of the district are committed to raising this number, it is well above the state average of 71 per cent. The district’s drop out rate for the same year, while higher than our schools are striving for, at 13 per cent, is significantly lower than the state average of 16 percent.
The report also looked at teacher qualifications. Though there were no state averages to compare against, of the teachers in the district, 38 percent have earned a university graduate degree, of Master’s or higher.

Chief Alirez Retiring From TCPD

Police beat

As reported in last week’s edition, Truth or Consequences Police Department (TCPD) Chief Lee Alirez told members of the Williamsburg board of trustees that he would be stepping down from his post at the end of this month.
Alirez said Captain Mike Apodaca would be taking over the department’s helm as interim chief and took a moment to express his appreciation for the opportunity to serve the residents of T-or-C and Williamsburg. The chief also expressed a heartfelt thanks to the officers and staff of the TCPD, crediting their individual dedication and team approach for the many successful initiatives the department has realized over his near three-year term.
Introduced to the city commission during their March 2, 2015 regular session, Alirez began his association with the TCPD with a declared focus on empowering community-based policies, and working with residents to meet the city’s true needs.

EB Hospital Clinic To Close


Following an extensive closed-door executive session November 15, the Sierra Vista Hospital (SVH) governing board returned to their regular public
meeting and rendered decisions on several important issues.
•In response to numerous billing problems and other apparent concerns, board members approved a motion to close the hospital’s Elephant Butte clinic effective immediately. Earlier in the regular session during public comment, the board heard statements
of concern about billing errors, as well as to whether, or not, the clinic licensed with the state. While acknowledging persistent billing issues
with the clinic, it was noted the facility did hold a
state license, but was not certified as an independent billing entity. This no doubt factored greatly in the many reports of billing errors hospital authorities have received over recent weeks.

SWCD Leads 5 County Brush Treatment

Beginning the week of Nov. 13, and continuing for approximately one week, the Sierra Soil and Water Conservation District, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management Las Cruces District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will treat up to approximately 11,000 acres of creosote bush. Treatments will occur on BLM, State Trust and private lands within Sierra, Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Luna and Otero counties in southwestern New Mexico where creosote densities have surpassed historic, naturally-occurring levels.
The objective of the treatments is to improve plant species diversity, which will benefit wildlife, rangeland and watershed health by reducing the density of creosote, and result in an increase of native grasses, forbs and other herbaceous vegetation.
A low-flying airplane will drop Tebuthiuron pellets, a soil-activated herbicide that inhibits photosynthesis, on creosote bush. At the planned rate and timing of application, the herbicide will have minimal impact on desirable grasses and forbs. Since the herbicide is applied in pellet form, it will not drift from treated areas. When the pellets dissolve with favorable precipitation, they are absorbed into the ground to a depth of approximately two feet and into the target plants root system, eventually reducing the creosote bush cover. The pellets will not be dropped near waterways or on slopes greater than 10 percent.

Soccer Field On Target For 2018


During their regular meeting November 6, Truth or Consequences’ (T-or-C) parks and recreation advisory board members learned that efforts to complete the Louis Armijo Sports Complex soccer field were poised to begin. Since an earnest start earlier this year, this project has been on hold awaiting delivery of irrigation components and working through contractor scheduling issues.
Sierra County Youth Soccer Organization (SCYSO) president Rene Guaderrama was on hand for the evening’s session and reported contractors would resume installation of the field’s irrigation system within the coming days. He said this aspect of the project was expected to be completed by the end of November, which would allow the field to be worked and prepared for seeding in the spring.
If all goes as planned, Guaderrama said he would expect play to begin on the new field in the fall of 2018.
When completed, the new soccer fields will provide local youngsters with a dedicated facility for future play. Passing this milestone will also free up access to the sports complex baseball fields.

New Manager: Barrera Returns To SEC


The Sierra Electric Cooperative (SEC) Board of Trustees announced earlier this week that they have hired Sierra County local Denise Barrera for the position of General Manager effective December 1, 2017. The Board of Trustees recognized Barrera’s ability to quickly understand concepts, identify and solve problems, implement operational efficiency and build a productive team of employees.
Barrera started her career in the rural electric cooperative industry at Sierra Electric Cooperative in 1979 as office manager. In 1987, she left SEC and spent the following 27 years employed at Cooperative Services Incorporated (CSI) and Columbus Electric Cooperative in Deming, NM. Throughout those years she gained the experience necessary to achieve leadership positions at both employers. Barrera held positions such as Manager of Customer Support, Finance Manager, IT Manager, Mapping Manager and Assistant General Manager.
Barrera currently resides in Elephant Butte, however has ties with communities throughout the SEC territory. She started her elementary education in Truth or Consequences before moving to South America and then Maryland as a youth. The time she spent in South America led to her fluency in the Spanish language. Barrera returned to Truth or Consequences to finish out her high school education.

Scoop The Loop

Do you miss the “Good Ol’ Days,” when a good time was watching all the spruced up cars cruising downtown on a Friday night? Come bask in the nostalgia with MainStreet Truth or Consequences during the Scoop the Loop event this Friday, Nov. 3 at 5:30 p.m. Vintage and classic vehicles will take to the streets of T-or-C to cruise the down-town loop of Main and Broad-way. Bring the kiddos to see what cars were like before power windows and unleaded gasoline.
Following the Scoop will be a Mix and Mingle at Grapes Gallery (407 Main). There will be food, drinks, and music from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Tickets are just $7.
To participate in the cruise, meet at the Healing Waters Plaza (behind the Visitor Center on Foch) at 5 p.m. For more information, call 575-740-6180.

Solid Rocket Motor Manufacturing/Test Facility Developed At Spaceport America


Spaceport of America

If predictions turn out to be accurate, 2018 could be the year Spaceport America (SA) could begin making positive headlines again.
Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Bran-son recently announced plans to launch his commercial spaceflight operations in 2018, after a four-year delay due to an unfortunate loss of his spacecraft during testing over the Mojave Desert.
And last week, UP Aerospace, another SA tenant, and Caroni Aerospace, announced a recently created state-of-the-art solid rocket motor manufacturing and testing facility at SA.
The test facility was completed in less than a year, with the completion of three full-scale Space Loft solid rocket motor static test firings. These tests verify new high-performance motor casing and insulation manufacturing techniques, and substantiate the automated, remotely controlled propellant mix and cast processing facilities, according to reports in the new Space Propulsion Center (SPC) is co-owned and operated by the two companies, and is located adjacent to the UP Aerospace Sub-Orbital Space Launch Complex.

Meeting Set For SR 152 Bridge Replacement

Lago Road Upgrades

The Federal Highway Administration ‐ Central Federal Lands Highway Division (FHWA‐CFLHD), in coordination with the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NM DOT), and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will be hosting a series of public meetings in early November 2017 for the NM State Route 152 (NM 152) Bridge Replacement Project.
This project would replace two existing bridges on NM 152 between Hillsboro and Kingston. The bridges are located five (NM Bridge #1520) and seven (NM Bridge #1521) miles west of Hillsboro within Sierra County.
NM 152 is a major collector that connects Interstate 25 to US 180. The route also traverses the Gila National Forest.
Implementation of the project will address the structural and functional inadequacy of the two existing bridges, which have conditions ratings of “poor” or less. The project will also provide safer vehicular travel along NM 152 in the future by replacing single‐lane bridges with two‐lane bridges, thereby providing more reliable emergency and maintenance vehicle access as compared to the current bridges that are restricted by width and height limitations.

Walking Town Event


Officials with MainStreet Truth or Consequences (T-or-C), in association with AARP Real Possibilities, will be hosting two special walking tours of the city’s downtown business district, and everyone is invited to join in.
The walking tours will be led by mayor Steve Green and are anticipated to take about 30 minutes to complete. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the Downtown Walk initiative, as well as to check out the new sidewalk replacement project and to gain insight into future development plans.
•The first walk is set for Friday morning, October 27 and is scheduled to take off from the Healing Waters Plaza at 10 a.m.
•The second walk will be held Monday evening, October 30. This tour is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and will also embark from the Healing Waters Plaza.